Rotary Club of Sylva
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2014-01-23: O’Neal Shelton and Susie Fender – Polio Survivor

January 23rd, 2014 by Scott Baker

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Our club welcomed new members, Meagan Orr and Candice Jamison during an induction ceremony on January 23rd. Pictured (bottom photo) from left are Al Byers, Meagan, Beth Bell, Candice and Jennifer Dirkes.

The program was presented by O’Neal Shelton and Susie Fender, Rotarians from Madison County, who shared information about Rotary International’s campaign to end polio, and about WCU’s current exhibit on polio at the Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center.

Polio cases across the world have declined significantly since 1985, but it’s a highly infectious disease and spreads rapidly. Polio is transmitted through contaminated water and food. In a matter of hours, the virus can enter the brain and spinal cord, destroying cells that enable muscles to contract, thus causing paralysis. For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected against the virus for life. If it’s not eradicated, polio could paralyze more than 10 million children under the age of five in the next 40 years.

WCU’s exhibit tells the story of how the town of Hickory came together to create an emergency polio hospital in less than three days through an amazing outpouring of community service.

Pictured (top photo) from left are O’Neal Shelton, Susie Fender, and Sylva Rotary Club President, Kenny Nicholson.

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